Channel 5 bolsters scripted slate with three additions

Ben Frow

Viacom-owned UK broadcaster Channel 5 has unveiled a raft of original dramas in the latest phase of a scripted strategy initiated last year by director of programmes Ben Frow.

Psychological thriller Penance (3 x 60 minutes), from All3Media-backed West Road Pictures, has been written and created by Kate O’Riordan (Mr Selfridge), and inspired by her novel of the same name.

Four-parter The Deceived is from New Pictures and has been written by Lisa McGee (Derry Girls, Being Human) and Tobias Beer. Virgin Media Television in Ireland is onboard as the Irish partner for the show, which explores the relationship between a student and her lecturer.

Also on the slate is 1 x 120 minute drama The Small Hand (working title), from Awesome Pictures and based on Susan Hill’s eponymous novel. The thriller is being adapted by writer Barbara Machin (Waking the Dead) and is being coproduced by Two Rivers Media, with Awesome’s Jeff Norton among executive producers.

Elsewhere, C5 drama Blood is returning with a 6 x 60 minute season, which has been commissioned by Virgin Media Television in Ireland. The show, which joins C5’s recently announced reboot of All Creatures Great and Small, is written and exec produced by Sophie Petzal (The Last Kingdom, Riviera) with West Road Pictures producing in association with Element Pictures and All3Media International.

Sebastian Cardwell, C5’s channels and acquisition manager, said the shows were “testament to Channel 5’s creative ambition” for drama, with further projects set to be revealed shortly. Frow’s scripted push into original drama started last year with the commissioning of Cold Call, its first scripted series for almost five years.

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